True Crime Entertainment: What’s New This Week

The following content is generally available worldwide, except where otherwise noted. All TV shows listed are for networks and streaming services based in the United States. All movies listed are those released in U.S. cinemas. This schedule is for content and events premiering this week and does not include content that has already been made available.

Monday, January 27 – Sunday, February 2

TV/Streaming Services

All times listed are Eastern Time/Pacific Time, unless otherwise noted.

Amazon Prime Video’s five-part docuseries “Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer” premieres on Friday, January 31 at 12 a.m. PT/3 a.m. ET.

Monday, January 27

“Live PD: Police Patrol”
(Episode 244)
Monday, January 27, 8 p.m., A&E

“Live PD: Police Patrol”
(Episode 245)
Monday, January 27, 8:30 p.m., A&E

“The Night That Didn’t End”
“A Mother’s Love” (Episode 206) **Season Finale**
Monday, January 27, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery

“The Lost Unabomber Tapes – Capture and Conviction” (TV Special)
Monday, January 27, 9 p.m., Reelz

“Fugitive CEO: The Carlos Ghosn Story” (TV Special)
Monday, January 27, 10 p.m., CNBC

“Stranger Among Us”
“Horror on the Homestead” (Episode 101) **Series Premiere**
Monday, January 27, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery

Tuesday, January 28

“Murder Comes Home”
“The Sickness”
Tuesday, January 28, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery

“Body Cam”
“The Crosshairs” (Episode 207)
Tuesday, January 28, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery

Wednesday, January 29

“Live PD: PD Cam”
Wednesday, January 29, 8 p.m., A&E

“Live PD: PD Cam”
Wednesday, January 29, 8 :30 p.m., A&E

“Evil Lives Here”
“While I Was Gone” (Episode 705)
Wednesday, January 29, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery

“Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda”
“The End” (Episode 920) **Series Finale**
Wednesday, January 29, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery

“True Life Crime”
“Runaway or Targeted Runner?”(Episode 104)
Wednesday, January 29, 9 p.m., MTV

“In Pursuit With John Walsh”
“Catch Me If You Can”(Episode 203)
Wednesday, January 29, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery

Thursday, January 30

“The First 48”
“Bridge of Lies” (Episode 1905)
Thursday, January 30, 8 p.m., A&E

“Alaska PD”
(Episode 106)
Thursday, January 30, 9 p.m., A&E

“Dead of Winter”
“The Killing Field” (Episode 205) 
Thursday, January 30, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery

“60 Days In”
“Mother’s Day Mayhem” (Episode 605)
Thursday, January 30, 10 p.m., A&E

“Hometown Homicide”
“In Too Deep” (Episode 203)
Thursday, January 30, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery

Friday, January 31

“I Am a Killer” (Complete 2nd Season)
Friday, January 31, 12 a.m. PT/3 a.m. ET Netflix

“Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer” (5-Part Docuseries)
Friday, January 31, 12 a.m. PT/3 a.m. ET Amazon Prime Video

“Dateline NBC: Secrets Uncovered”
“Reckless” (Episode 816)
Friday, January 31, 8 p.m., Oxygen

“Live PD: Roll Call”
Friday, January 31, 8 p.m., A&E

“Live PD: Rewind”
Friday, January 31, 8:06 p.m., A&E

“Live PD”
Friday, January 31, 9 p.m., A&E

Friday, January 31, 9 p.m., ABC

Friday, January 31, 10 p.m., NBC

Saturday, February 1

“Criminal Confessions”
“His Final Fight” (Episode 309)
Saturday, February 1, 6 p.m., Oxygen

“Live PD: Roll Call”
Saturday, February 1, 8 p.m., A&E

“Live PD: Rewind”
Saturday, February 1, 8:06 p.m., A&E

“Live PD”
Saturday, February 1, 9 p.m., A&E

“48 Hours”
Saturday, February 1, 10 p.m., CBS

Sunday, February 2

No new true-crime programs on this day.

Movies in Theaters

No new true-crime movies in theaters this week.


No new podcast series debuts this week.


Events listed here are not considered endorsements by this website. All ticket buyers with questions or concerns about the event should contact the event promoter or ticket seller directly.

All start times listed are local time.

True Crime Tour NYC

A three-hour walking tour of famous crime sites in New York City, led by  someone who identifies himself as an attorney named Eddie. According to the tour description, the tour does not include mobster/Mafia crime scenes and the tour “focuses exclusively on the most fascinating murders that occurred in New York City from the 1960s to 1990s.”

WHEN: Every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Meeting place is at the soutwest corner of Avenues C and E at Ninth Street in Manhattan.

AGE REQUIREMENT: No age restrictions.

TICKETS: $59.95 – $75 per person


2020 Grammy Awards: Billie Eilish is the biggest winner and sweeps the top prizes

January 26, 2020

by Carla Hay

Billie Eilish at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 26, 2020. (Photo courtesy of CBS)

At the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, pop singer Billie Eilish made Grammy history by becoming the first artist to sweep all four of the top general field categories in the same year. The ceremony took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 26, 2020. CBS had the U.S. telecast of the show, which was hosted for the second year in a row by Alicia Keys.

Eilish took the prizes for Best New Artist and Album of the Year (for “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”), while her hit “Bad Guy” won the awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Eilish’s “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” also won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album, bringing her total to five Grammys—the most Grammys won at the 2020 Grammy ceremony. At 18 years old, Eilish is also the youngest artist to win a Grammy for Album of the Year.

Eilish went into the ceremony with six Grammy nominations. An early indication that Eilish (whose full name is Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell) would win big was when her producer brother, Finneas O’Connell, won the Grammy for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) for producing “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

Lizzo, who had eight Grammy nods going into the ceremony, ended up with three Grammys: Best Pop Solo Performance (for “Truth Hurts”); Best Urban Contemporary Album (for “Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)”); and Best Traditional R&B Performance (for “Jerome”).

Lil Nas X had six nominations and won two Grammys, both for “Old Town Road,” his collaboration with Billy Ray Cyrus: Best Pop Duo/Group Vocal Performance and Best Music Video.

Gary Clark Jr. won three Grammys for his “This Land” song and album: Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Contemporary Blues Album.

Several people on stage, including Grammy host Keys, acknowledged the shocking death of basketball star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash earlier that day ith his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people. The award ceremony had visual images paying tribute to Bryant.

As expected at the Grammy show, there were several all-star collaborations on stage. Old Town Road All-Stars featured Lil Nas X and Cyrus, joined by BTS, Diplo and Mason Ramsey to perform the Grammy-winning song “Old Town Road.”

Additionally, to acknowledge the importance of music education in schools by both the longtime Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich and the Recording Academy, artists associated with Ehrlich’s 40-year career gathered to perform “I Sing the Body Electric” from the film “Fame.” The 2020 Grammy ceremony was the last to be produced by Ehrlich, who is handing over producing duties to “The Late, Late Show” executive producer Ben Winston. The “I Sing the Body Electric” performance featured Camila Cabello, Clark and John Legend, joined by Debbie Allen, Joshua Bell, Common, Misty Copeland, Lang Lang, Cyndi Lauper, Ben Platt and the War and Treaty.

Other performers at the Grammy ceremony included Aerosmith, Brandi Carlile, Eilish, Kirk Franklin, Ariana Grande, H.E.R., Jonas Brothers, DJ Khaled, Lizzo, Demi Lovato, Meek Mill, Roddy Ricch, Rosalía, Run-D.M.C., Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Tanya Tucker, Tyler The Creator, Charlie Wilson and YG.

Here are the nominations and winners of the general field categories at the 2020 Grammy Awards. A complete list of nominations and winners can be found on the official Grammy Awards website.


Record of the Year
Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) and mastering engineer(s), if other than the artist.

“Hey Ma”
Bon Iver
BJ Burton, Brad Cook, Chris Messina & Justin Vernon, producers; BJ Burton, Zach Hansen & Chris Messina, engineers/mixers; Greg Calbi, mastering engineer

“Bay Guy”*
Billie Eilish*
Finneas O’Connell, producer; Rob Kinelski & Finneas O’Connell, engineers/mixers; John Greenham, mastering engineer

“7 Rings”
Ariana Grande
Charles Anderson, Tommy Brown, Michael Foster & Victoria Monet, producers; Serban Ghenea, John Hanes, Billy Hickey & Brendan Morawski, engineers/mixers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer

“Hard Place”
Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, producer; Joseph Hurtado, Jaycen Joshua, Derek Keota & Miki Tsutsumi, engineers/mixers; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer

Disclosure & Denis Kosiak, producers; Ingmar Carlson, Jon Castelli, Josh Deguzman, John Kercy, Denis Kosiak, Guy Lawrence & Michael Romero, engineers/mixers; Dale Becker, mastering engineer

“Old Town Road”
Lil Nas X Featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
Andrew “VoxGod” Bolooki & YoungKio, producers; Andrew “VoxGod” Bolooki & Cinco, engineers/mixers; Eric Lagg, mastering engineer

“Truth Hurts”
Ricky Reed & Tele, producers; Chris Galland, Manny Marroquin & Ethan Shumaker, engineers/mixers; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer

Post Malone & Swae Lee
Louis Bell & Carter Lang, producers; Louis Bell & Manny Marroquin, engineers/mixers

Album of the Year
Award to Artist(s) and to Featured Artist(s), Songwriter(s) of new material, Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s), Mixer(s) and Mastering Engineer(s) credited with at least 33% playing time of the album, if other than Artist.

Bon Iver
Brad Cook, Chris Messina & Justin Vernon, producers; Zach Hansen & Chris Messina, engineers/mixers; BJ Burton, Brad Cook & Justin Vernon, songwriters; Greg Calbi, mastering engineer

“Norman F**king Rockwell!”
Lana Del Rey
Jack Antonoff & Lana Del Rey, producers; Jack Antonoff & Laura Sisk, engineers/mixers; Jack Antonoff & Lana Del Rey, songwriters; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer

“When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”*
Billie Eilish*
Finneas O’Connell, producer; Rob Kinelski & Finneas O’Connell, engineers/mixers; Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters; John Greenham, mastering engineer

“Thank U, Next”
Ariana Grande
Tommy Brown, Ilya, Max Martin & Victoria Monet, producers; Serban Ghenea & Brendan Morawski, engineers/mixers; Tommy Brown, Ariana Grande, Savan Kotecha, Max Martin, Victoria Monet, Tayla Parx & Ilya Salmanzadeh, songwriters; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer

“I Used to Know Her”
David “Swagg R’Celious” Harris, H.E.R., Walter Jones & Jeff Robinson, producers; Miki Tsutsumi, engineer/mixer; Sam Ashworth, Jeff “Gitty” Gitelman, David “Swagg R’Celious” Harris & H.E.R., songwriters; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer

Lil Nas X
Montero Lamar Hill, songwriter; Eric Lagg, mastering engineer

“Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)”
Ricky Reed, producer; Manny Marroquin & Ethan Shumaker, engineers/mixers; Eric Frederic & Melissa Jefferson, songwriters; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer

“Father of the Bride”
Vampire Weekend
Ezra Koenig & Ariel Rechtshaid, producers; John DeBold, Chris Kasych, Takemasa Kosaka, Ariel Rechtshaid & Hiroya Takayama, engineers/mixers; Ezra Koenig, songwriter; Emily Lazar, mastering engineer

Song of the Year
A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

“Always Remember Us This Way”
Natalie Hemby, Lady Gaga, Hillary Lindsey & Lori McKenna, songwriters (Lady Gaga)

“Bad Guy”*
Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)

“Bring My Flowers Now”
Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth & Tanya Tucker, songwriters (Tanya Tucker)

“Hard Place”
Ruby Amanfu, Sam Ashworth, D. Arcelious Harris, H.E.R. & Rodney Jerkins, songwriters (H.E.R.)

Taylor Swift, songwriter (Taylor Swift)

“Norman F**cking Rockwell”
Jack Antonoff & Lana Del Rey, songwriters (Lana Del Rey)

“Someone Yo Loved”
Tom Barnes, Lewis Capaldi, Pete Kelleher, Benjamin Kohn & Sam Roman, songwriters (Lewis Capaldi)

“Truth Hurts”
Steven Cheung, Eric Frederic, Melissa Jefferson & Jesse Saint John, songwriters (Lizzo)

Best New Artist
An artist will be considered for Best New Artist if their eligibility year release/s achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and notably impacted the musical landscape.

Black Pumas

Billie Eilish*

Lil Nas X


Maggie Rogers


Tank and the Bangas


Movie and TV Reviews

Reviews for New Movies Released January 24 – January 30, 2020

Beanpole (Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber)
Color Out of Space (Photo courtesy of RLJE Films)
The Gentlemen (Photo by Christopher Raphael)
Get Gone (Photo courtesy of Cleopatra Entertainment)
John Henry (Photo courtesy of Saban Films)
The Last Full Measure (Photo by Jackson Lee Davis)
The Turning (Photo by Patrick Redmond)

Complete List of Reviews

17 Blocks — documentary

Aamis — drama

Advocate — documentary

After Class (formerly titled Safe Spaces) — comedy/drama

After Parkland — documentary

All I Can Say — documentary

Amazing Grace — documentary

American Woman — drama

The Apollo — documentary

At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal — documentary

Bad Boys for Life — action

Beanpole — drama

Blessed Child — documentary

Blow the Man Down — drama

The Boys (premiere episode) — drama

Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists — documentary

Buffaloed — comedy

Burning Cane — drama

Changing the Game — documentary

Circus of Books — documentary

Clementine — drama

Color Out of Space — sci-fi/horror

Come to Daddy — horror

Crown Vic — drama

CRSHD — comedy

A Day in the Life of America — documentary

Days of Rage: The Rolling Stones’ Road to Altamont — documentary

Decade of Fire — documentary

Devil’s Pie – D’Angelo — documentary

The Dog Doc — documentary

Dolitte — live-action/animation

Dreamland — drama

A Fall From Grace — drama

For They Know Not What They Do — documentary

Framing John DeLorean — documentary

Ganden: A Joyful Land — documentary

The Gasoline Thieves — drama

Gay Chorus Deep South — documentary

The Gentlemen — action

Get Gone — horror

Good Posture — comedy

The Grudge (2020) — horror

He Dreams of Giants — documentary

Healing From Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation — documentary

The Host (2020) — horror

House of Hummingbird — drama

I Am Human — documentary

I Want My MTV — documentary

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me — documentary

Initials SG — drama

Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica — documentary

It Takes a Lunatic — documentary

Jay Myself — documentary

John Henry — action

The Kill Team (2019) — drama

The Last Full Measure — drama

Leftover Women — documentary

Les Misérables (2019) — drama

Like a Boss — comedy

Limerence — comedy

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice — documentary

The Longest Wave — documentary

Los Últimos Frikis — documentary

Lost Bayou — drama

Lost Transmissions — drama

Low Tide — drama

Lucky Grandma — action

Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over — documentary

Mai Khoi & the Dissidents — documentary

Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound— documentary

Martha: A Picture Story — documentary

Martin Margiela: In His Own Words — documentary

Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back — documentary

Mystify: Michael Hutchence — documentary

Noah Land — drama

Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin — documentary

Only — drama

Otherhood — comedy

Other Music — documentary

Our Time Machine — documentary

Picture Character — documentary

The Place of No Words — drama

Plucked — documentary

Plus One — comedy

The Quiet One — documentary

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project — documentary

A Regular Woman — drama

Rewind — documentary

Seahorse — documentary

Scheme Birds — documentary

See Know Evil — documentary

See You Yesterday — sci-fi/drama

The Short History of the Long Road — drama

The Show’s the Thing: The Legendary Promoters of Rock — documentary

Slay the Dragon — documentary

The Sonata — horror

Standing Up, Falling Down — comedy/drama

Stevenson Lost & Found — documentary

Stray Dolls — drama

Sublime — documentary

Swallow — drama

A Taste of Sky — documentary

To Kid or Not to Kid — documentary

Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts — documentary

Troop Zero — comedy

The Turning (2020) — horror

Two/One — drama

Tyson — documentary

Underwater — sci-fi/horror

Unbelievable (premiere episode) — drama

Vas-y Coupe! — documentary

Watson — documentary

Weathering With You — animation

What Will Become of Us — documentary

What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali — documentary

Wig — documentary

A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem — documentary

Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation — documentary

XY Chelsea — documentary

You Don’t Nomi — documentary

Review: ‘Beanpole,’ starring Viktoria Miroshnichenko and Vasilisa Perelygina

January 26, 2020

by Carla Hay

Viktoria Miroshnichenko in “Beanpole” (Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber)


Directed by Kantemir Balagov 

Russian with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place shortly after World War II in Leningrad, Russia, the female-centric “Beanpole” has an all-white cast of characters representing people from various social classes, ranging from working-class to middle-class to upper-class.

Culture Clash: Two female war veterans who are best friends have difficulties adjusting to life after the war, as they encounter obstacles due to their socioeconomic status, and the two friends have conflicts with each other over motherhood issues.

Culture Audience: “Beanpole” will appeal primarily to fans of arthouse cinema from Europe.

Vasilisa Perelygina and Viktoria Miroshnichenko in “Beanpole” (Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber)

The opening scene of the dramatic film “Beanpole” doesn’t leave any doubt that the movie’s title character has something very wrong with her. In the beginning of the film, Russian nurse Iya Tsvylyova (who’s nicknamed “Beanpole” because she’s very tall and thin) is seen in a hospital laundry room in a trance-like state, and she’s making noises that sound like she wants to speak but she can’t. Is she mute? Is she in shock over something? Is she mentally challenged?

It turns out that she’s none of the above, but the movie keeps you guessing over when she’ll go in and out of these trances. Iya (played by Viktoria Miroshnichenko) can talk just fine when she’s not in a trance, so there’s nothing wrong with her vocal cords. Based on her co-workers’ reactions, they’re aware of Iya having these unexplained episodes of detachment, and the only thing they can do when she’s in a trance is wait for her to snap out of it.

The story takes place just after World War II, and Iya works as a nurse in a Leningrad hospital for wounded veterans. Her life revolves around her job and caring for Pashka (played by Timofey Glazkov), a boy who is about 4 or 5 years old. At first, the movie leads you to believe that Pashka is Iya’s son, since the child is living with her and she treats him exactly like how a loving mother would treat a child. But something terrible happens to Pashka, resulting in his death, and we find out that Iya is not the boy’s biological mother.

Pashka’s real mother is Masha (played by Vasilisa Perelygina), a military veteran and Iya’s best friend, who has returned from the war, not knowing that her son has died. Masha has not seen her son since he was a baby or a toddler, so when Masha visits Iya at home to retrieve Pashka, Masha is eager to find out how much her son has changed. The look of fear and dread on Iya’s face tells Masha that something awful has happened, and she correctly guesses that Pashka is dead. When Masha asks how Paskha died, Iya lies to Masha by saying that Paskha died in his sleep, because Iya knows that telling Masha the truth would be too devastating. Masha doesn’t go into hysterics and seems to internalize her grief.

Meanwhile, it’s eventually revealed that Iya is also a military veteran. She and Misha served in the war as anti-aircraft gunners, but Iya was discharged from the military, due to getting a concussion that presumably has caused her to go into these trances. It’s also likely that Iya has PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), since it’s implied that she developed this condition during the war.

Despite the tragedy of losing her son Pashka while the child was in Iya’s care, Masha decides to remain close friends with Iya, and she moves in with her, since Masha has no family and has no other place to go. (It’s mentioned that Pashka’s father died in the war.)

The two women are almost opposites. Iya is shy, awkward and seems to be sexually inexperienced. Masha is outgoing, feisty and very open about the fact that she’s had several lovers. And their attitudes greatly differ when it comes to having children, which affects what happens later on in the story.

“Beanpole” shows that one of the harsh realities of post-World War II life in Russia was that the country was plagued with food shortages, and women often prostituted themselves by having sex with men in exchange for food. That’s what happens when Masha and Iya are walking down a street one night, and they’re spotted by two young men driving by in a car, and the men offer them the food that they have in the car.

Masha knows what the men are after, but Iya seems to be completely unaware of what’s expected of her and Masha after they eat the food that the men have offered to them. One of the men takes Iya outside, while Masha stays in the car and has quickie sex with the other man in the back seat of the car. Masha and the guy have barely finished when he’s dragged out of the car by Iya, who punches him in the face.

It turns out that Iya has also assaulted the other guy, who has witnessed Iya’s rage toward his friend. It isn’t revealed how much sexual activity took place between Iya and the other guy, but he says with a strange smirk that his arm might be broken and that the two women were livelier than he thought they would be. While Iya and Masha run away, Iya scolds Masha for not telling her what the men’s intentions were, but Masha laughs because she thinks the entire incident is hilarious. It’s a sign that there’s something mentally “off” about Masha too.

Soon after that incident, Masha interviews for a job at the hospital. She flirts with the middle-aged supervisor Dr. Nikolay Ivanovich (played by Andrey Bykov), who’s interviewing her, and she’s intrigued by him because she knows that the doctor is sexually attracted to Iya. When Masha sees a photo of two young children on his desk, she asks him if those are his children. He tells her yes, but the children have died. When he asks her if she has any children, she tells him she doesn’t, and lies by saying that she hasn’t become a mother yet. Masha ends up getting a job as an attendant at the hospital.

Not long after she starts working at the hospital, Masha gets a nosebleed and mysteriously collapses. She’s diagnosed with exhaustion and finds out, to her horror, that her reproductive organs were removed without her knowledge during an operation that she had in the war. But in yet another sign of Masha’s mental instability, she reacts to the news in a bizarre way: She says she could be pregnant at that moment and it would be a miracle.

Eventually, reality sinks in, and Masha is devastated over knowing that she can never conceive a child again. She tells Iya that not being a mother makes her feel empty, so she asks Iya to get pregnant and give the child to Masha to raise as her own. Iya is shocked by the proposal and is terrified at the thought of having sex with a sperm donor, but Masha puts a guilt trip on Iya about Pashka’s death, by saying to Iya, “You owe me.”

Later at the hospital, Masha runs into someone unexpected: the guy she had sex with in the car. By a strange twist of fate, he works at the hospital as an orderly. His name is Alexander, nicknamed Sasha (played by Igor Shirokov), and he’s clearly infatuated with Masha. Sasha pursues her romantically and starts spending more time at Iya and Masha’s place, much to Iya’s dismay. Later on in the movie, Masha finds out why Iya is so jealous of Sasha. Iya isn’t the only one with a secret. Sasha has also been secretive about a part of his life, and when he shows that side of his life to Masha, it permanently changes his relationship with her.

Does Iya agree to get pregnant? And if so, who will impregnate her? Does she give birth and then give the baby to Masha? Those are questions that are answered in the movie, but that information won’t be revealed in this review. It’s enough to say that the emotional heart of the story is in Iya’s decision and what happens afterward. (The ending might not be what you think it is.)

“Beanpole” is the type of movie that will sneak up on you with a few surprises, while telling a story that is specific yet universal. While most people will never know what it’s like to be a Russian female World War II veteran, almost everyone can relate to having the type of friendship where uncommon favors and sacrifices are made because of the friendship. People who have parenthood issues, especially when it comes to infertility or losing a child to death, can also be emotionally impacted by this story.

“Beanpole” director Kantemir Balagov, who wrote the movie’s screenplay with Aleksandr Terekhov, unfolds the story by revealing details in a scattered way that eventually comes together to make sense, much like putting pieces of a puzzle together. For example, some of the characters are introduced and we get to know their personalities, but their names aren’t revealed until much later in the story. “Beanpole” is the first film for actresses Miroshnichenko and Perelygina, who have made impressive debuts by convincingly portraying the ups, downs and nuances of a friendship that’s deeply affected by love and the emotional wounds of war.

The movie also realistically shows that these female war veterans, who work in a hospital taking care of male war veterans, don’t really have anyone looking after their own emotional needs as veterans. Iya and Masha don’t discuss any of their war stories in the movie, as if they just want to put the war behind them. The bond between combat comrades who’ve gone through a war together is an underlying reason why their friendship is so strong and was able to withstand the tragedy of Pashka’s death.

“Beanpole” had its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where Balagov won the award for Best Director in the Un Certain Regard category. The movie then made the rounds at other prestigious festivals (including the Toronto International Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and AFI Fest), and was chosen as Russia’s official 2019 entry for the Academy Awards category Best International Feature Film. Ultimately, “Beanpole” didn’t get an Oscar nomination, but the movie has revealed promising new talent in Miroshnichenko and Perelygina, who will likely have a bright future in Russian cinema.

Kino Lorber will release “Beanpole” in New York City on January 29, 2020. The movie’s theatrical release in the U.S. and Canada will expand to other cities, beginning February 12, 2020. “Beanpole” was originally released in Russia in 2019.

Review: ‘The Turning’ (2020), starring Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklynn Prince and Joely Richardson

January 24, 2020

by Carla Hay

Mackenzie Davis and Brooklynn Prince in “The Turning” (Photo by Patrick Redmond/Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures)

“The Turning” (2020)

Directed by Floria Sigismondi

Culture Representation: Taking place in a fictional Maine suburb, the predominantly white cast of characters represent people from the middle and upper classes.

Culture Clash: A supernatural ghost story, the main plot centers around a young live-in nanny who is being terrorized in a haunted house, and the two spoiled children under her care might or might not have something to do with it.

Culture Audience: “The Turning” will appeal primarily to horror fans who want a movie that doesn’t get too graphic in its violence, but the story leaves a lot to be desired in pacing and structure.

Finn Wolfhard and Brooklynn Prince in “The Turning” (Photo by Patrick Redmond/Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures)

Some people might say that we’re living in a golden age of horror films, because of the horror genre’s resurgence in popularity. But long after movie studios keep churning out more predictable horror flicks, “The Turning” will be a forgotten mishap not even worthy of a footnote in movies about menacing ghosts and haunted houses.

“The Turning” (directed by Floria Sigismondi and written by identical twins Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes) takes place in 1994, so smartphones and the Internet aren’t going to be used as resources to get the characters out of danger. “The Turning” is based on the Henry James novella “The Turn of the Screw,” which is a classic work of art that “The Turning” never will be. There is no mysterious uncle in the movie, as there is in the novella, and the movie takes place in Maine (instead of England), but the basic plot remains the same.

Viewers know that “The Turning” takes place in 1994, because in one of the first scenes, there’s a newscast on TV about the upcoming memorial for Kurt Cobain, the Nirvana lead singer who died a few days earlier, according to the newscast. The TV is in the apartment home of 20-something Kate Mandell (played by Mackenzie Davis), who’s moving out because she’s quit her job as a schoolteacher to take a job as a live-in nanny to an elementary-school-aged girl named Flora Fairchild (played by the precocious Brooklynn Prince), who’s a rich orphan living in a remote mansion called the Bly estate. Kate’s roommate Rose (played by Kim Adis) doesn’t want her to go, but Kate has made up her mind, because as she says to Rose, she’d rather be responsible for one possibly unruly kid instead of classroom full of them.

The opening scene of “The Turning” shows a terrified blonde trying to escape from the mansion by car. We find out later who that woman was, but for the time being, Kate is blissfully unaware of the terror waiting for her. As Kate drives to the foreboding mansion for her first day on the job, the first plot hole appears, because based on her awestruck reactions, it’s the first time she’s ever been to the mansion. Even if Kate was hired through an agency, it’s still makes Kate look less-than-smart to not see for herself where she’d be living and working before she took the job. Now that it’s been established that Kate isn’t the brightest bulb in the drawer, since she’s taken a live-in job without ever visiting the place beforehand, the story moves on to her making even more illogical decisions.

When she arrives at the mansion, she’s greeted by the grim and uptight house manager Mrs. Grose (played by Barbara Marten), who tells Kate something that would give pause to any person with common sense: Flora must never leave the family property. Kate is presumably supposed to be Flora’s home-school tutor, but the movie never shows Kate doing any teaching or even asking about Flora’s curriculum.

And then Kate gets a surprise when she finds out that she has to take care of not only Flora but also her troubled 15-year-old bother Miles (played by Finn Wolfhard, who’s best known for his roles on Netflix’s “Stranger Things” series and Warner Bros. Pictures’ “It” movies). Kate unexpectedly meets Miles when he startles her during his visit home from boarding school. Miles is every bit of the rude, insolent creep that he appears to be. He likes to play mean-spirited pranks on Kate and sneak up on her while she’s sleeping. It isn’t long before Miles comes home to stay permanently, because he’s been expelled from school for viciously assaulting a fellow student, by choking the boy and bashing his head into the ground. The kid’s parents have declined to press charges, which is why Miles hasn’t been arrested.

Even after Kate gets this information, she still stays. Mrs. Grose, the ultimate toxic enabler, makes excuses for Miles, and constantly reminds Kate that Miles and Flora are “thoroughbreds” and “privileged” and deserve to catered to by “the help.” She scolds Kate when Kate tries to discipline the kids in a reasonable way. It’s also obvious that Mrs. Grose knows a lot of the estate’s dirty secrets.

Throughout the course of the movie, Kate learns that several other nannies have quit and that three people have died on the property in the past few years: Miles and Flora’s parents (who died in a car accident) and Peter Quint, the horse-riding instructor, who died under mysterious circumstances. (Quint, who is seen in flashbacks and in photos, is played by Niall Greig Fulton.)

Mrs. Grose tells Kate that Quint was a bad influence on Miles (they would disappear together for hours), and Quint had some kind of sexual relationship with Miss Jessell (played by Denna Thomsen), the nanny who had the job before Kate did. The relationship ended badly, and Miss Jessell abruptly disappeared. Quint died shortly after the disappearance. Kate discovers Miss Jessel’s journal that reveals Quint had an unhealthy obsession with Miss Jessel and she was terrified of him. Even after getting all of these warning signs, Kate still stays. And she finds out the hard way what a mistake that is.

“The Turning” is director Sigsmondi’s return to helming feature films after a 10-year absence. (Her previous feature was the little-seen and underrated rock music biopic “The Runaways,” which was such a flop when it was released in March 2010, it was one of the reasons why its independent distributor Apparition went out of business a month after the movie’s release.) Sigismondi, who started her directing career with music videos and has been working mainly in television for the past several years, gets all the visual elements of “The Turning” right, for what could have been an intriguing ghost story. Kudos should also be given to the movie’s cinematography (by David Ungaro), the production design (by Paki Smith) and art direction (by Nigel Pollock), for creating a convincing atmosphere of horror and doom.

But it’s all wasted on a subpar screenplay that ruins the movie. The movie’s pacing also does little to build suspense. Kate has frightening encounters with the ghosts fairly early on in the story, but every time it happens, she has the same reactions: She screams, she blames the kids, and she decides to stay. It becomes too repetitive and ultimately annoying. There are also aspects of the story that could have been interesting but are instead dangled in front of the audience and never fully explained. For example, viewers will get no clear answers for why Flora isn’t supposed to leave the property and why she has a panic attack if she thinks she’s going to be forced to leave.

The actors do a very competent job with the problematic script that they’ve been given. Davis doesn’t have much to work with in portraying Kate’s personality or intelligence, because Kate is a very underdeveloped character who keeps making bad decisions. As Flora Fairchild, talented actress Prince, who had a breakout film debut as a foul-mouthed brat in 2017’s “The Florida Project,” is playing another girl who’s wise beyond her years while still maintaining child-like innocence in some ways. Wolfhard’s Miles Fairchild is obviously the more sinister sibling, and his sociopathic creepiness is actually more disturbing than some of the predictable scares that the ghosts inflict on Kate.

On a side note, it’s always kind of amusing to see these haunted houses suddenly have lights that don’t work, because the protagonists inevitably end up in dark rooms where they don’t/can’t/won’t turn on the lights. And if they’re using a flashlight or a candle to see, the flashlight or candle usually gets dropped when the inevitable ghost scare happens.

The Hayes brothers’ screenplay for “The Turning” really is the movie’s weakest link, which is such a letdown, since they’re capable of writing much better ghost-story horror movies. (Their screenwriting credits include “The Conjuring,” “The Conjuring 2” and “Annabelle.”) Most horror movies about haunted houses have to explain why the people in those houses don’t just move out after it becomes unsafe to live there. The reason is usually because they’ve bought the house and they recently moved into the house, so they’re already invested in staying. Moving out abruptly without another place to live could be an expensive mistake for them.

Back when the “The Turn of the Screw” was published in 1898, women didn’t have very many options on what they could do with their lives and where they could live. But it’s 1994 in “The Turning,” and Kate certainly has plenty of options that she foolishly doesn’t take. (Such as: Leave and get another job.) Another option, which most people in haunted houses do in horror movies, is to go to the authorities or consult with a spiritual expert to get rid of the ghosts. Kate does none of that, and as things get more dangerous for her, she still stays.

However, since Kate doesn’t own the mansion, and they’re clearly not paying her enough for her to justify staying, it doesn’t make sense that Kate stays as long as she does when she starts seeing ghosts, she gets locked into rooms, and she’s assaulted by mysterious forces. The movie gives a weak explanation for Kate staying: In a phone conversation, she tells her former roommate Rose (who practically begs Kate to quit the job and move back in with her) that she doesn’t want to leave because she made a promise to Flora to never abandon her, and Kate doesn’t want to emotionally damage the child. (It doesn’t cross Kate’s mind that the kid could afford to get a good therapist.)

You see, Kate has her own abandonment issues, because her father left Kate and her mother Darla (played by Joely Richardson) when Kate was a child. Darla has been in a psychiatric institution for several years (there’s a scene where Kate visits her there but Kate doesn’t stay long), and Darla might or might not have psychic powers that most people think are delusions. Kate has some hangups about possibly inheriting Darla’s mental illness and being perceived as crazy, which is the movie’s way of explaining why Kate doesn’t get help or report all the bizarre and dangerous things that keep happening to her on the Bly estate.

Darla likes to draw her visions, and she shows her artwork to Kate. The artwork is explained toward the end of the movie, which concludes in such a disappointing way, that it’s bound to confuse and frustrate viewers. (At the screening I attended, a lot of people gasped in disgust at the ridiculous ending.) “The Turning” is one of those movies that has a misleading trailer that makes the film look a lot better than it actually is. Just like a dimwitted person who knowingly stays in a haunted house after being attacked by ghosts, viewers should know what they’re getting into with “The Turning” and experience it at their own risk.

Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures released “The Turning” in U.S. cinemas on January 24, 2020.

Review: ‘John Henry,’ starring Terry Crews and Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges

January 24, 2020

by Carla Hay

Terry Crews in "John Henry"
Terry Crews in “John Henry” (Photo courtesy of Saban Films)

“John Henry”

Directed by Will Forbes

Culture Representation: Set in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton, this male-centric action drama’s cast of characters are almost all African Americans and Latinos from the lower and middle classes.

Culture Clash: The central conflicts are between gang members and the people they want to terrorize.

Culture Audience: “John Henry” is bottom-of-the-barrel blaxploitation that will appeal mostly to people who have a high tolerance for low-quality gangster flicks.

Chris “Ludacris” Bridges in “John Henry” (Photo courtesy of Saban Films)

Before anyone thinks that the crime drama “John Henry” has anything to do with the story of the African American folk hero John Henry, the first 15 minutes of this laughably horrible film will make it clear that the name is just a gimmick. The John Henry in this film is played by Terry Crews, and the only thing this John Henry has in common with the folk hero is that he likes hammers. (He uses a sledgehammer as a weapon at one point in the movie.) There are no steel workers and no scenes of hard labor in “John Henry,” which takes place entirely in the crime-ridden area of Compton, the Los Angeles suburb made world-famous by rap group N.W.A.

And speaking of rap artists from the Los Angeles area, the entire “John Henry” movie (directed by Will Forbes, who co-wrote the screenplay with Doug Skinner) looks like it was made by people who get their stereotypical ideas of Compton’s African Americans from music videos that N.W.A. made in the ’80s and former N.W.A. member Dr. Dre made in the ’90s. (The only white people in this movie are cops, who are shown briefly after they respond to a shootout.) The movie’s attempt at hip-hop authenticity is to have a soundtrack of songs mostly by DJ Quik, who’s an executive producer of “John Henry.”

Crews has a larger-than-life personality in most of his on-screen roles, but his John Henry character in the movie is a slow-moving, slow-talking, brooding hulk of a man who’s awkward when he’s around other people. John has a generous side, but he isn’t afraid to get rough if necessary. John lives with his father, BJ Henry (played by Ken Foree), a foul-mouthed braggart who’s in a wheelchair and needs oxygen tubes to breathe. John, who’s supposed to be in his late 40s, doesn’t seem to be gainfully employed and he has no friends, so the movie makes it look like he and BJ are living off of BJ’s Social Security and disability payments from the government.

In fact, none of the black men shown in this movie seem to be making an honest living by having steady jobs. The “John Henry” filmmakers are basically fueling the worst racist stereotypes that black men who live in a predominantly black area are non-productive losers who are either criminals or on welfare. One of the reasons why John Singleton’s 1991 drama “Boyz N the Hood” is a well-written, Oscar-nominated classic is because it accurately showed the variety of African Americans who live in South Central Los Angeles (a predominantly black area), as ranging from law-abiding, hard-working citizens to destructive gang bangers.

The 2015 N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton” (another movie with an Oscar-nominated screenplay) also accurately depicted that not everyone who lives in Compton is poor or a criminal. For example, N.W.A. member Ice Cube came from a stable middle-class home with two married, hard-working parents. “John Henry” was obviously made by people who would never live in a predominantly black neighborhood. It seems like they’ve gotten their narrow, biased views of black people from movies, TV shows and music videos that perpetuate the negative stereotypes (especially about black men) instead of showing the diverse array of people who live in predominantly black areas. “John Henry” is another one of those lazy, ignorant movies that recycles the same bigoted clichés.

The movie shows flashbacks of John’s life as a teenager in the early 1990s, as seen through old home videos. Back then, BJ had high hopes for John, but John joined a gang with John’s cousin, who has the street name Hell. (Rich Morrow plays the young John. Maestro Harrell plays the young Hell, and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges plays the adult Hell.) At some point when John was still a young man, he decided to quit the gang and “thug life” altogether.

When John told Hell about his decision to leave the gang and stop committing crimes, Hell got angry, and the two guys got into a tussle that ended with John accidentally shooting Hell in the face. The gunshot wound left a scar that the adult Hell covers up with an embellished metal plate that looks like it was tossed off of the set of Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” video. The falling out between the two cousins has lasted for all these decades, and John has become Hell’s sworn enemy.

Meanwhile, Hell has risen through the ranks of the gangster world in Compton. He now heads a gang whose signature color is white. This movie is so over-the-top ridiculous that the gang members not only dress entirely in white, but they also wear similar sweatsuits. They don’t look like a menacing gang. They look like they’re about to go to work at a spa.

The gang members have street names such as Savage, Gram, Whack, Mookie, Midnight and Deyday. (All of them are men except for one butch-looking woman.) And when they talk, they say the “n” word every couple of minutes. Women are referred to as “bitches” and almost all of the women around them are involved in prostitution. But what’s really absurd is that while these thugs are talking in Ebonics, they sometimes throw in a few phrases such as “Orwellian rules” and “recidivism.”

It seems like the screenwriters want to pander to stereotypes of black criminals from the ‘hood being uneducated, but then mock them by making the thugs say words that they’re supposedly not smart enough to know. This satire technique would work well if the jokes were funny, but they’re not. The filmmakers show a lot of racial condescension by making all the black people in Compton look like a bunch of idiots, including the neighborhood extras who stand around and gawk on their front lawns while an outdoor shootout is happening nearby in broad daylight and they’re in the line of fire.

The Latinos in the movie are also depicted in negative clichés. Near the beginning of the film, members of the sweatsuit gang are sitting around playing poker and smoking weed when they’re ambushed in a home invasion shootout, where several people end up get killed or injured. The two armed Latino men who’ve barged into the house are small-time drug dealer Emilio (Joseph Julian Soria) and his younger half-brother Oscar (played by Tyler Alvarez), who’ve come to rescue their sister Berta (played by Jamila Velazquez), who’s being held against her will as a prostitute. Berta and Oscar look like they’re in their late teens or early 20s, while Emilio seems to be in his late 20s.

During the melee, Oscar gets shot, while Emilio and Berta run out of the house. Emilio is detained by police, but Berta manages to escape, and she hides underneath John Henry’s front porch. John finds Berta and invites her inside, where he makes her a sandwich and tries to communicate with Berta to get her story, even though she doesn’t really know any English, and John can barely speak Spanish. Luckily, John’s father BJ can understand Spanish more than John can (how convenient), so he acts as a translator. Kind-hearted John offers Berta a place to stay until they can figure out what to do.

John gets somewhat of a love interest in the movie, when he goes to a local drugstore to buy some feminine products for Berta, who’s told him that she’s menstruating. (Yes, it’s that kind of movie.) While John is standing around, looking very confused in the aisle with tampons and sanitary pads, he’s spotted by one of the drugstore employees named Tasha (played by Kimberly Hebert Gregory), a former classmate of his from high school. Tasha is thrilled to see John again, and obviously still has a crush on him. She gets even more excited when she finds out that, just like her, John is also single and doesn’t have any kids. But John, who’s preoccupied with his Berta problem, is oblivious to the love signals that Tasha is sending out, and just like a clueless schmuck, he leaves her hanging.

Somehow, Emilio shows up at the Henrys’ house to retrieve Berta, who’s afraid to leave. And why should she leave? While she’s hiding out, she’s getting free meals and lodging, courtesy of John Henry, and Emilio is going to be a target of the gang members who will be looking for her. Emilio’s sudden appearance at the Henry house is one of many plot holes, because the movie doesn’t explain how Emilio found out that Berta was there. She obviously didn’t call Emilio, because she doesn’t want to leave with him. The movie also never explains what happened after Emilio was stopped by the police who caught him fleeing from the shootout. Adding to the muddled plot, there’s a lot of Spanish dialogue with no subtitles whatsoever.

It turns out that Berta and Oscar are undocumented immigrants who have fled Honduras because they were afraid of being killed by gang members. Oscar and Berta tracked down their half-brother Emilio because he’s the only family member they have in the United States. The three siblings weren’t reunited for very long and were walking down a street together when Berta was abducted by the sweatsuit gang members who were riding by in a van. Because of his involvement in drug dealing, Emilio managed to find out where Berta was being held, so he and Oscar planned the home invasion to break her out of the gang house.

Meanwhile, John’s cousin Hell (who doesn’t wear white, but wears his encrusted facial guard like he thinks he’s some kind of supervillain) wants revenge for the home invasion, and he sends his goons to find out who’s responsible and to get Berta back. It doesn’t take a genius to predict that there’s going to be a showdown between John and Hell.

But before that happens, much of the movie is bogged down with cringeworthy conversations and long silences, mainly because John Henry has such an “arrested development” personality. In other words, “John Henry” is far from a non-stop action movie.  When the action does happen, a lot of it is unrealistic and unimaginative. And the movie even rips off a little bit of the first “John Wick” movie when John Henry’s beloved dog gets killed by a gangster in the opening scene, and there’s a shot of John Henry carrying the dead dog like John Wick did.

“John Henry” reaches the point of no return in stupidity when wheelchair-bound, oxygen-tube-wearing BJ suddenly becomes a gun-toting action hero who can stand up and move around as if he never needed a wheelchair. As an explanation for his improbable physical transformation, BJ quips, “Adrenaline is a hell of a drug!” In another so-dumb-it’s-almost funny scene, another character survives a bullet wound to the head that knocked him unconscious for quite some time, but then he was able to get up with all of his motor skills intact. And what’s one of the first things he does after experiencing this trauma? Get medical treatment? No. He shaves.

“John Henry,” for all of its flaws, would be a more watchable film if it at least delivered thrilling action. Instead, just like the title character, “John Henry” is a little too slow, empty-headed and predictable to make it worthwhile to see for some campy entertainment.

Saban Films released “John Henry” in select U.S. cinemas, digital and on VOD on January 24, 2020.

Disney Cruise Line announces Star Wars Day at Sea details for 2021

January 23, 2020

Disney Cruise Line's Star Wars Day at Sea
Disney Cruise Line’s Star Wars Day at Sea (Photo by Matt Stroshane)

The following is a press release from Disney Cruise Line:

With more than a dozen of the galaxy’s most formidable and heroic characters onboard, guests can meet with the best of the Resistance including Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2; come face-to-face with Darth Vader; and be on watch as Stormtroopers, Bounty Hunters and Jawas roam the ship.

Force-sensitive children learn the ways of the Jedi and use their new-found skills in a face-off against Darth Vader and Kylo Ren in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. The whole family can celebrate the greatest moments from the Star Wars galaxy with the “Summon the Force” deck party, complete with a fireworks show of galactic proportions.

Costume celebrations, movie screenings, trivia sessions, the Star Wars Drawing Academy and a ship-wide Porg-themed adventure are more of the ways families can feel the Force on Star Wars Day at Sea. Unique food and beverage and special merchandise are also available on these sailings in early 2021.

Star Wars Day at Sea Itineraries

With cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, guests can celebrate their love of the Star Wars saga and enjoy tropical destinations, coupled with classic Disney magic and entertainment all week long onboard the Disney Fantasy. All Star Wars Day at Sea sailings make a stop in Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, home to pristine beaches, crystal blue waters and fun-filled leisure and recreational activities for all ages.

Star Wars Day at Sea will be offered on nine Disney Fantasy seven-night Caribbean cruises sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Departing Jan. 2, Jan. 16, Jan. 30, Feb. 13 and Feb. 27, the Western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Departing Jan. 9, Jan. 23 and Feb. 20, the Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

Departing Feb. 6, the Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.


2020 Grammy Awards: John Legend, Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, Camila Cabello among artists set for all-star collaborations

January 23, 2020

The following is a press release from the Recording Academy and CBS:

In keeping with the tradition of presenting signature “Grammy Moments,” CBS and the Recording Academy® have announced two special segments to take place on the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards The first, “Old Town Road All-Stars,” will feature current nominees Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, joined by BTS, Diplo, Mason Ramsey and other surprise guests. In the past year, “Old Town Road” has been the subject of mixes and mashups, which inspired bringing together various acts who have performed it to create a one-of-a-kind performance.

Additionally, to acknowledge the importance of music education in schools by both the longtime Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich and the Recording Academy, artists associated with Ehrlich’s 40-year career will gather to perform “I Sing the Body Electric” from the film “Fame.” The performance will feature current nominees Camila Cabello, Gary Clark Jr. and John Legend, joined by Debbie Allen, Joshua Bell, Common, Misty Copeland, Lang Lang, Cyndi Lauper, Ben Platt and the War and Treaty.

“To bring high-caliber artists like Camila Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, Common, Misty Copeland, Debbie Allen, Ben Platt, Gary Clark Jr., Joshua Bell and Lang Lang together on one stage fulfills a dream of mine,” said Ehrlich, who is completing his 40th and final Grammy Awards as producer. “To be able to do this on the Grammy stage makes it unforgettable for me.”

Hosted by Alicia Keys, the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live from Staples Center in HDTV and 5.1 surround sound Sunday, Jan. 26 (8:00-11:30 PM, live ET/5:00-8:30 PM, live PT) on the CBS Television Network and streaming on CBS All Access. Previously announced performers include Aerosmith; Camila Cabello; Brandi Carlile; Billie Eilish; Kirk Franklin; Ariana Grande; H.E.R.; Jonas Brothers; DJ Khaled; John Legend; Lizzo; Demi Lovato; Meek Mill; Roddy Ricch; Rosalía; Run-D.M.C.; Blake Shelton; Gwen Stefani; Tanya Tucker; Tyler, The Creator; Charlie Wilson; and YG.

Grammy winner Gary Clark Jr. is nominated for Best Rock Performance (“This Land”), Best Rock Song (“This Land”), Best Contemporary Blues Album (This Land), and Best Music Video (“This Land”).

Current Grammy nominee Billy Ray Cyrus is nominated with Lil Nas X for Record Of The Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (“Old Town Road”) and Best Music Video (“Old Town Road [Official Movie]”).

Ten-time Grammy winner and current nominee John Legend (Best Rap/Sung Performance [“Higher”]) and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album (A Legendary Christmas).

First-time Grammy nominee Lil Nas X is nominated for Record Of The Year with Billy Ray Cyrus (“Old Town Road”), Album Of The Year (7), Best New Artist, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with Billy Ray Cyrus (“Old Town Road”), Best Rap/Sung Performance (“Panini”), and Best Music Video (“Old Town Road [Official Movie]”).

About the Recording Academy

The Recording Academy® represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, the Academy honors music’s history while investing in its future through the Grammy Museum®, advocates on behalf of music creators, supports music people in times of need through MusiCares®, and celebrates artistic excellence through the Grammy Awards – music’s only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement. As the world’s leading society of music professionals, we work year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.

January 24, 2020 UPDATE: 

CBS and the Recording Academy have confirmed the final slate of performers for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. Previously announced Gary Clark Jr. will be joined by The Roots to perform Clark’s Grammy-nominated song “This Land”; Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Trombone Shorty will unite to honor those we have lost this year in a touching “In Memoriam” tribute; and Sheila E. will take the stage with Usher for an exciting Grammy Salute to Prince.

This year’s presenters include Common, Ava DuVernay, Cynthia Erivo, Jim Gaffigan, Dua Lipa, Trevor Noah, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Porter, Bebe Rexha, Smokey Robinson, Shania Twain, Keith Urban and Stevie Wonder.

Food Network debuts ‘Tournament of Champions,’ hosted by Guy Fieri

January 23, 2020

Guy Fieri (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a press release from Food Network:

It’s madness on Food Network this March as Guy Fieri hosts and executive produces an all new culinary competition where 16 of the nation’s most celebrated chefs face-off on “Tournament of Champions,” premiering on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at 10pm with a supersized 90-minute episode stuffed with edge-of-your-seat action. During the five-part tournament, the chefs’ skills will be pushed to the limit, as they go head-to-head in a single elimination bracket-style competition, where a randomizer machine determines the protein, produce, equipment, cooking style, and time for each of the cook-offs. The pressure is on and emotions are high throughout this unpredictable tournament, as the elite chefs enter this blind competition not knowing who their opponents will be, or what cooking challenges they will face. The intensity increases in each sudden-death each round of the tournament as the coveted spots decrease from 16 to eight in the second round, then to four, until there are only two chefs in the final round.

This past October, Guy issued a call to action on social media for fans to nominate their favorite chefs they thought deserved to earn a coveted challenger spot for an East Coast vs. West Coast tournament, and the fans responded. The final chefs representing the East Coast are: Maneet Chauhan, Rocco DiSpirito, Alex Guarnaschelli, Elizabeth Falkner, Darnell Ferguson, Amanda Freitag, Marc Murphy and Christian Petroni. The chefs showing off their chops from the West Coast are: Richard Blais, Eric Greenspan, Antonia Lofaso, Beau Macmillan, Jet Tila, Marcel Vigneron, Michael Voltaggio, and Brooke Williamson. Today, the seeds and first-round brackets of the tournament will be unveiled on Food Network’s Twitter page. Beginning on February 14th, for the first time ever, viewers will be able to build their own bracket for a chance to track their scores as the competition unfolds, unlock exclusive content, and win prizes throughout the season.

“‘Tournament of Champions’ showcases cooking as a sport with difficult sudden-death challenges and unexpected match ups as each round is determined by the course of the competition,” said Courtney White, President, Food Network. “Our cameras rolled on all the action, from the competition floor to back stage and behind the scenes, capturing the tension, deliberation, elation and frustration as bracket victors moved on while others faced elimination.”

“The NFL has the Super Bowl, MLB has the World Series, NBA has The Finals. And now Food Network has ‘Tournament of Champions’ – the ultimate culinary championship to establish once and for all, who rules America’s kitchen,” said Guy Fieri.

It’s a high stakes competition unlike any before. Simon Majumdar and Justin Warner deliver real time play-by-play as all the action unfolds in front of a live audience and continues backstage while the competitors mull over their work while listening in on the judges’ deliberation. Deciding who advances in each round is a rotating panel of expert judges including, Michelle Bernstein, Traci Des Jardin, Marcus Samuelsson, Nancy Silverton, Curtis Stone, Ming Tsai, and Jonathan Waxman. Unexpected challenges, major upsets and surprises fill this tournament, which concludes with an extended 90-minute episode on Wednesday, April 1st at 10pm. Only one chef will emerge as the champion!

Fans can head to for videos with Guy, taste test challenges with the judges and food games with competitors, as well as exclusive Q&As. From February 14 – March 1, viewers can head to Food Network’s Twitter to complete their own bracket for the chance to win unique prizes, and use #TournamentOfChampions to track the action week-to-week.

# # #

FOOD NETWORK ( is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the No. 2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.5 million readers. Food Network is owned by Discovery, Inc., a global leader in real life entertainment spanning 220 countries and territories; the portfolio also includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, TLC, Investigation Discovery, and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

2020 Academy Awards: Elton John, Cynthia Erivo, Idina Menzel, Randy Newman, Chrissy Metz will perform Oscar-nominated songs

January 23, 2020

The following is a press release from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC:

Cynthia Erivo, Oscar winner Elton John, Idina Menzel, Chrissy Metz and Oscar winner Randy Newman will perform this year’s nominated songs at the 92nd Oscars ceremony, show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain announced today. “The Oscars” will air live, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, on ABC.

“We’re excited to have an incredible group of nominees and performers who will deliver one-of-a-kind music moments you will only see on the Oscars,” said Howell Taylor and Allain.

This year’s Original Song nominees and performers are as follows (in alphabetical order by song title):

· “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4” – performed by Randy Newman; music and lyric by Randy Newman

· “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman” – performed by Elton John; music by Elton John; lyric by Bernie Taupin

· “I’m Standing with You” from “Breakthrough” – performed by Chrissy Metz; music and lyric by Diane Warren

· “Into the Unknown” from “Frozen II” – performed by Idina Menzel and AURORA; music and lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

· “Stand Up” from “Harriet” – performed by Cynthia Erivo; music and lyric by Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo

In addition to the five nominated song performances, the show will feature a special appearance by Questlove and a guest-conducted segment by Eímear Noone. Noone is the first woman to conduct during an Oscars telecast.

The producers will continue to announce talent joining the show in the coming weeks.

The 92nd Oscars will be held on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby(R) Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center(R) in Hollywood and will be televised live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. “Oscars: Live on the Red Carpet” will air at 6:30 p.m. EST/3:30 p.m. PST. “The Oscars” also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

About The Academy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 9,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.

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